The city of East Ridge is continuing to make improvements and upgrades in the city’s appearance and facilities. At the Jan. 11 city council meeting, approval was given for moving forward to make improvements at Camp Jordan Park. This overhaul for the 40-year-old park includes upgrades to restrooms, concessions, fencing, bleachers, grading baseball and softball fields, turfing the soccer stadium, concessions in the Arena lobby as well as a new roof for that building, trash receptacles and the replacement of water, sewer and power systems throughout the park.
At the council meeting Thursday night authorization was given to fund the project through a loan with the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund. The cost was limited to a maximum of $2.3 million. The annual debt service over a period of 20 years will be paid from hotel/motel taxes. The work will be done this fall.
In April 2017 the city adopted architectural design standards and guidelines in order to assure high quality designs and building materials. Am amendment was made and approved regarding infill development. This change will make sure that vacant property within an established neighborhood, meets zoning requirements and that the style will be compatible and consistent architecturally, such as size and height with existing buildings.
A sign ordinance has also been established in East Ridge. An amendment was approved Thursday night that will allow an appeal and for the city council to grant a variance from the on-premise sign standards after the chief building official provides the council with a review and written recommendation on the variance request. Codes Enforcement Officer Kenny Custer also told the council that a survey of all abandoned signs in the city has been made and, if no longer in compliance with city regulations, signs can be removed.
City Manager Scott Miller told the council that a new street sweeper has arrived and in now in service. It is being paid for with a capital outlay note in the amount of $221,973 through the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund.
Mayor Brent Lambert requested that banners with the message “Take pride in East Ridge – Don’t Litter” be made and hung across roadways. City Manager Miller also suggested that people doing community service be used to pick up trash on the roads.
Christopher Harris was approved to replace Kyle Hedrick to serve as administrative hearing officer. He will have the jurisdiction to hear violations of local codes including building, property maintenance and zoning codes and to levy fines for violations in excess of $50. The pay rate for this position was set at $200 per hour.
The city manager said that another design error in regard to the reconfiguration project at the I-75 Interchange with Ringgold Road at Exit One will require a change order. The council agreed to pay C.W. Matthews Contracting Company an additional $3,987 to bore under the eastbound off ramp in order to connect street lights on the east and west sides of the road.
A public meeting was held with no one present to speak for or against rezoning 104 Kingwood Dr. from C-2 General Commercial to R-1 Residential. The planning commission unanimously approved the change and sent it to the council, which also gave approval.
Police Chief J.R. Reed was authorized to apply for the Walmart Foundation Community Grant. If awarded the grant, the East Ridge Police Department will use the $2,500 for updating computer technology for the Criminal Investigation division.
Rick Bonner, a volunteer with the East Ridge Food Pantry, announced a fundraising event to the council. It will benefit the food pantry which serves low income, the extended stay population and homeless in the community. The facility at East Ridge United Methodist Church, 1601 Prater Road, was established May 1, 2017, and has grown significantly during the past year. Food is provided on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Last week, said Mr. Bonner, food was given to 271 individuals. The facility is run by all volunteers with 100 percent of donations going straight to the food pantry, he said. Strawberries from Plant City, Fla., are being sold by the flat, each containing eight cups for $20. Orders must be in by March 12. They will be delivered from March 19-24.